Public Space: Fights and Fictions

ETHEL BARAONA POHL

Critic, writer and curator Ethel Baraona Pohl (1970, El Salvador) is currently based in Barcelona where, together with César Reyes Nájera, she is the co-founder of the architectural research practice and independent publishing house dpr-barcelona. Their research and theoretical work is linked to leading publications in architectural discourse through, among other things, their roles on the editorial team of Quaderns d’arquitectura i urbanisme, and as advisors to Archis for Volume magazine. In her curatorial work, Ethel Baraona Pohl was associate curator for Adhocracy, first commissioned for the Istanbul Design Biennial in 2012 and later exhibited in New York and London. With César Reyes Nájera, she curated the third Think Space programme on ‘Money’, and has recently curated, together with César Reyes and Pelin Tan, Adhocracy ATHENS at the Onassis Cultural Center in 2015.

Society’s reclamation of public sphere is that place where we can say that force follows fiction. With our imaginary full of references, some real, some invented by our own desires—from May 68, Superstudio’s cautionary tales, and Lefebvre’s ‘Right to the City’ to the Spanish Revolution in a world dominated by algorithms—the many ways we have to reset the system and find new ways to inhabit our cities will emerge from the collision of force and fiction. We need fiction as we need air to survive, but we also need to bring out the force to transform that collective imaginary into something new; to invent new words with new meanings to refer to the system we want to live in. An alchemy of the word in order to promote an alchemy of the world.